changes war stance
TELLURIDE – In the months leading up to the war against
Iraq, the Telluride Town Council adopted a resolution in opposition
to the war. Now, the council has adopted a resolution supporting
the U.S. armed forces personnel, as well as their friends and
family, reports The Telluride Watch (April 18). Also adopting
this pro-military stance were the San Miguel County commissioners,
who likewise had tilted against the war.
Town outlaws modified mufflers
GLENWOOD SPRINGS – Harley-Davidson motorcycles don’t
come off the factory floor loud enough to send your ear drums
into seizures. They’re modified, as cars can also be,
so the noise of the internal combustion engine is not muffled
and hence is louder.
While there’s already a Colorado law about such modifications,
it is almost never enforced. Now, Glenwood Springs is outlawing
such modifications in hope that the law can be more easily enforced.
In an editorial, the Glenwood Springs Post-Independent (May
1) concedes that the law can be used as a pretext by police
for harassing people. But if the law is enforced fairly, the
newspaper says, it will allow Glenwood Springs some blessed
peace and quiet.
Bar charged in patron’s death
MOUNTAIN VILLAGE – A bartender at the Poachers Pub and
the owners of the business are being charged with over-serving
a bar patron. Russian immigrant Aiviars Japins, 27, died late
in the ski season after leaving the bar while extremely drunk,
according to The Telluride Watch (April 18).
Japins left the bar in the early morning after losing his glasses,
and was unable to find his way home. Instead, he ended up on
a ski slope, where he collapsed in a stupor on a night when
the temperature dropped to 0 degrees. He was inadequately clothed
for such cold. An autopsy revealed a blood alcohol content of
0.382, or nearly four times the threshold for DUI in Colorado.
County opts for new housing term
CRESTED BUTTE – Like other ski towns and counties before
them, Gunnison County is flirting with the idea of adopting
a euphemism for what is most commonly called “affordable
housing.” The choice of the county’s planning commission
is “community housing.”The name affordable housing,
they say, has too many connotations.
By whatever name – other locales have called it attainable
housing, employee housing, and so forth – Gunnison County
is fixating on the balance between second-home development and
local residential housing. There is a sense among groups involved
in the discussion, says the Crested Butte News (May 2), that
they don’t want an increase in the percentage of second
homes. Others, however, see second homes as positive contributions
to the local economy.
Aspen climber cuts off arm with knife
ASPEN – For several years, Aron Ralston has been raising
eyebrows with his exploits in the great outdoors. After moving
to Aspen several years ago, the former computer nerd made solo
winter ascents of some of Colorado’s highest and more
difficult mountains, including 45 of the state’s 54 14,000-foot
peaks. Climbers setting out for Everest said that what he was
doing was more dangerous than what they were doing.
But at the end of ski season, while on a solo trip in a slot
canyon of Canyonlands National Park, Ralston’s luck ran
out. His arm became pinned under a boulder. After waiting five
days for help, he finally used his pocket knife to cut off his
arm, then rappelled 60 feet down a cliff face before hiking
out of the Maze District. He was walking when a search helicopter
spotted him. He walked from the helicopter into the hospital
on his own power, reports The Aspen Times (May 3).
“I’ve never seen anybody who has the will to live
and is as much of a warrior as Aron is, and I’ve been
doing this for 25 years,” said Steve Swanke, supervisory
park ranger at Canyonlands National Park. “He is a warrior,
Ironically, even as he was pinned by the rock in Utah, drinking
the last of his water, The Denver Post (April 28) was describing
one of his ski trips near Vail last winter, when he and several
companions managed to survive an avalanche while skiing on risky
I-70 corridor gets sound barriers
I-70 CORRIDOR – People along I-70 through the resort
communities of Summit County and the Vail Valley have long understood
the highway as a doubled-edged sword. The sharper edge is the
incessant noise that, for some, makes conversation impossible
unless doors and windows are closed.
The result in recent years has been a steady progression of
earth berms, and now concrete walls. In Vail, work is continuing
to create earthen berms on both sides of one residential area.
Meanwhile, down the valley near Edwards, a berm is slowly being
erected to shield residents of the Singletree golf course area.
Along Highway 6, residents of the upscale Arrowhead neighborhood
are reporting relief now that a 15-foot-high ridge has been
Latest is a concrete wall to shield residents of the Dillon
Valley development, at the foot of the approach to Eisenhower
Tunnel. Some residents recall discussions of a noise wall when
they bought their homes 25 years ago. The $1.8-million project
will create a wall of panels 6.5 inches thick and 10 to 12 feet
high. The top of the wall is jagged to replicate a range of
mountain peaks. “We’re dancing in the streets,”
long-time homeowner Jim Dossett told the Summit Daily News (April
Pine beetle epidemic hits Vail
VAIL – Foresters at the Vail ski area have targeted 600
trees infected by pine beetles that they hope to fell this summer,
reports the Vail Daily (April 27). An aerial reconnaissance
of the Vail, Beaver Creek and adjoining areas revealed that
an estimated 23,000 trees were killed by the beetles last year.
The current epidemic began in the mid-1990s and is about halfway
completed. The last epidemic peaked in the early 1980s.
Park City dedicates more open space
PARK CITY, Utah – Park City has another 950 acres of
dedicated open space. The land is located in a high alpine area
called Flagstaff Mountain. Over the last 15 years, the city
has formally protected more than 2,500 acres as open space,
and the town has $10 million in the bank for purchasing additional
Historian David Lavender dies
OJAI, Calif. – David Lavender, who chronicled the past
of the American West in dozens of books, has died. A native
son of Telluride, he was 93.
Lavender and his brother, Dwight, were stepsons of a newspaper
publisher in Telluride during its mining heyday. While Dwight
excelled as a mountaineer before his premature death from a
rare disease, David excelled in academics. He received his undergraduate
degree from Princeton before returning to Colorado to work at
a gold mine near Ouray and chase cows in the Paradox Valley
region west of Telluride. Lavender recalled these youthful adventures
in a book, One Man’s West.
For most of his life, he taught school in Ojai, near Santa
Barbara, spending his vacations and then his retirement researching
and writing books. Topics ranged from the Southwest to the Pacific
Northwest. He also wrote many magazine stories, as well as pamphlets
for the National Park Service.
He made several appearances at the Telluride Mountainfilm Festivals.
Appearing in 1992 along with David Brower, he was asked about
writing books. “It’s a lonely business,” he
said. Even then, in his early 80s, he was at work on yet another
Metro ozone pollutes Sierra Nevada
SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. – The counties in the Sierra
Nevada that include Lake Tahoe are among the most polluted in
the nation with ozone. El Dorado County this year is ranked
eighth in the nation in ozone pollution, while Nevada County
ranks 13th and Placer County 17th.
The Tahoe Daily Tribune (May 1) explains that the pollution
is largely the result of being downwind from Sacramento, San
Francisco and other Bay Area cities. Sprawl is also a contributor,
as commuters escape the city to live in the mountains above
Sacramento, generating high-mileage trips. The ozone is created
when exhaust reacts with hydrocarbons, i.e. evaporated solvents,
paints, and light petroleum in the presence of bright light.
Auto emissions account for about 65 percent of the ozone pollution.